Agenda and minutes

Council
Monday, 25th February, 2019 6.30 pm

Venue: The Preston Room, Woodgate Chambers, Woodgate, Loughborough

Link: Click here for sound recording

Items
No. Item

71.

Opening Thoughts and Reflections

Minutes:

The Mayor opened the meeting and after reflecting on current events referred to the ability that nonsense poems could have to lighten the mood.  She concluded by reciting the nursery rhyme “There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza”.

 

The Mayor then went on to state that the meeting was being recorded and the sound recording would be made available on the Council’s website.  In addition, under the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations people may film, record, tweet or blog the meeting and that was outside the Council’s control.

72.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Cooper, Gaskell, Grimley, Jukes, Lowe and Savage, and from Honorary Aldermen Bush, Shields and Stott.

73.

Disclosures of Pecuniary and Personal Interests

Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 requires that a Councillor who owes arrears of Council Tax which have been outstanding for more than two months must declare this at any Council meeting which considers the setting of a budget and the Council Tax, and that they should not vote on those matters.  Failing to comply with those requirements if they apply is an offence.  If this applies to any Councillors at this meeting, they are therefore advised to make the required declaration and to leave the meeting during consideration of item 6.1.

 

It is a requirement of the Council’s Code of Conduct for Members that the existence and nature of all personal interests must be disclosed.  Therefore, in the case of item 6.1 on the agenda, 2019/20 Special Expenses and General Fund and HRA Revenue Budgets, it is suggested that members of precepting authorities declare such interests.  (For example, this would relate to members of Leicestershire County Council, the Combined Fire Authority and Parish and Town Councils).

Minutes:

The Mayor drew Councillors’ attention to the advice on interests in item 6.1 on the agenda, 2019/20 Special Expenses and General Fund and HRA Revenue Budgets, for members of precepting authorities.  The Mayor also reminded Councillors that Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 required that a Councillor who owed arrears of Council Tax which had been outstanding for more than two months must declare that at any Council meeting which considered the setting of a budget and the Council Tax, and that they should not vote on those matters. 

 

The Mayor also invited the Monitoring Officer to confirm his advice in relation to interests in item 6.3 on the agenda, Council Tax – Amendments to Empty Homes Premium and Exemptions.  In doing so, the Monitoring Officer clarified that only interests relating to properties in the Borough needed to be disclosed.

 

The following disclosures of pecuniary and personal interests were made:

 

(i)            by Councillor Barkley – a personal interest in item 6.1 on the agenda (2019/20 Special Expenses and General Fund and HRA Revenue Budgets) as a member of Leicestershire County Council and Syston Town Council;

(ii)          by Councillor Bebbington – a personal interest in item 6.1 on the agenda (2019/20 Special Expenses and General Fund and HRA Revenue Budgets) as a member of Shepshed Town Council;

(iii)         by Councillor Brookes – a personal interest in item 6.1 on the agenda (2019/20 Special Expenses and General Fund and HRA Revenue Budgets) as a member of Thurmaston Parish Council;

(iv)         by Councillor Forrest – a personal interest in item 6.1 on the agenda (2019/20 Special Expenses and General Fund and HRA Revenue Budgets) as a member of Barrow Upon Soar Parish Council;

(v)          by Councillor Fryer – a personal interest in item 6.1 on the agenda (2019/20 Special Expenses and General Fund and HRA Revenue Budgets) as a member of Leicestershire County Council;

(vi)         by Councillor Gerrard – a personal interest in item 6.1 on the agenda (2019/20 Special Expenses and General Fund and HRA Revenue Budgets) as a member of Syston Town Council and East Goscote Parish Council;

(vii)        by Councillor Hampson – a personal interest in item 6.3 on the agenda (Council Tax – Amendments to Empty Homes Premium and Exemptions);

(viii)       by Councillor C. Harris – a personal interest in item 6.3 on the agenda (Council Tax – Amendments to Empty Homes Premium and Exemptions) as she was party to a property in the Borough that was let out; however, it had never proved difficult to let or been empty for a period of time and she therefore did not consider that she needed to leave the room for the consideration of the item;

(ix)         by Councillor Harper-Davies – a personal interest in item 6.1 on the agenda (2019/20 Special Expenses and General Fund and HRA Revenue Budgets) as a member of Mountsorrel Parish Council;

(x)          by Councillor K. Harris – an interest in item 6.3 on the agenda (Council Tax – Amendments to Empty Homes  ...  view the full minutes text for item 73.

74.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 133 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Council meeting held on 21st January 2019.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of Council held on 21st January 2019 were confirmed and signed.

75.

Announcements

75.1

Mayor's Announcements

To receive announcements from the Mayor (if any).

Minutes:

The Mayor made no announcements.

75.2

Leader's Announcements

To consider significant, recent matters affecting the Council or the Borough (if any).

Minutes:

There were no Leader’s announcements.

75.3

Chief Executive's Announcements

To receive announcements from the Chief Executive (if any).

Minutes:

The Chief Executive made no announcements.

76.

Petitions

To allow councillors to formally submit petitions for consideration under the Council’s petition scheme, as set out in Full Council Procedure 9.8.

Minutes:

No petitions were submitted.

77.

Business Reserved to Council pdf icon PDF 97 KB

To consider the following matters reserved to Council in accordance with Section 5 of the Constitution:

Additional documents:

77.1

2019/20 Special Expenses and General Fund and HRA Revenue Budgets pdf icon PDF 111 KB

A report of the Cabinet, setting out the proposed General Fund and HRA Revenue Budgets for 2019/20 along with the proposed Council Tax Levy, and the 2019/20 proposals to increase rent and service charges within the ring-fenced Housing Revenue Account, is attached.

 

The full Council Tax Recommendations, which the Council must consider in order to set a Council Tax Levy and General Fund and HRA Revenue Budgets for 2019/20, will be circulated once the major preceptors have confirmed their precepts.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A report of the Cabinet, setting out the proposed General Fund and HRA Revenue Budgets for 2019/20 along with the proposed Council Tax Levy, and the 2019/20 proposals to increase rent and service charges within the ring-fenced Housing Revenue Account, was submitted (item 6.1 on the agenda filed with these minutes).

 

Following confirmation from major preceptors regarding their precepts, the full Council Tax Recommendations, which the Council had to consider in order to set a Council Tax Levy and General Fund and HRA Revenue Budgets for 2019/20, were circulated (item 6.1 supplementary report filed with these minutes). 

 

Councillors were reminded that it was a legal requirement that all votes taken on this item, including votes on amendments must be recorded votes.

 

Councillor Bentley joined the meeting at 6.55pm.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Barkley and seconded by Councillor Morgan that recommendations 1 to 17 outlined in the supplementary report of the Cabinet be approved for reasons 1 to 17 in that report.

 

The following amendment was proposed by Councillor Draycott and seconded by Councillor Hamilton:

 

(i)      that the Council provide free toilet provision in Loughborough town centre by keeping the Market Place and Biggin Street toilets open 7 days a week;

(ii)     that the £60,000 cost be met by increasing Directorate Savings by £60,000 to £360,000 for 2019/20 and in future years to be met by future underspends, Directorate Savings or reserves.

 

For the amendment – Councillors Bradshaw, Draycott, Forrest, Hamilton, Hampson, K. Harris, Huddlestone, Miah and Tillotson.

 

Against the amendment – Councillors Baines, Barkley, Bebbington, Bentley, Bokor, Brookes, Campsall, Capleton, Fryer, Gerrard, Hachem, Hadji-Nikolaou, Harper-Davies, Hayes, Hunt, Mercer, Morgan, Murphy, Pacey, Page, Paling, Parsons, Parton, Poland, Radford, Ranson, Rattray, Rollings, Seaton, Shepherd, Smidowicz, Smith, Snartt, Tassell, Taylor and Vardy.

 

Abstaining – Councillor C. Harris.

 

The amendment was defeated.

 

The following amendment was proposed by Councillor K. Harris and seconded by Councillor Bradshaw:

 

(i)      that the Council create a purpose-built water re-filling station in Loughborough town centre so that those visiting the town centre can be provided with fresh clean water to re-fill their water bottles;

(ii)     that the £20,000 one-off cost be met from reserves.

 

In responding to the amendment, Councillor Bokor stated that there was already a scheme for inclusion in the Council’s capital plan that was being brought forward and would deliver that objective.

 

Councillor Hunt referred to the scheme being operated by refill.org.uk.  She also disclosed a personal interest as one of the locations which was participating in the scheme was the office in which she worked.

 

For the amendment – Councillors Bradshaw, Campsall, Draycott, Forrest, Hamilton, K. Harris, Huddlestone, Miah and Tillotson.

 

Against the amendment – Councillors Baines, Barkley, Bebbington, Bentley, Bokor, Brookes, Capleton, Fryer, Gerrard, Hachem, Hadji-Nikolaou, Hampson, Harper-Davies, Hayes, Hunt, Mercer, Morgan, Murphy, Pacey, Page, Paling, Parsons, Parton, Poland, Radford, Ranson, Rattray, Rollings, Seaton, Shepherd, Smidowicz, Smith, Snartt, Tassell, Taylor and Vardy.

 

Abstaining – Councillor C. Harris.

 

The amendment was defeated.

 

For the motion – Councillors Baines,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 77.1

77.2

Capital Strategy (Including Treasury Management Strategy) for 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 96 KB

A report of the Cabinet, setting out the Capital Strategy, newly required under the Prudential Code, and the Treasury Management Strategy Statement together with the Annual Investment Strategy and Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Policy for 2019/20 for consideration and approval, is attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A report of the Cabinet, setting out the Capital Strategy, newly required under the Prudential Code, and the Treasury Management Strategy Statement together with the Annual Investment Strategy and Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Policy for 2019/20 for consideration and approval, was submitted (item 6.2 on the agenda filed with these minutes).

 

It was proposed by Councillor Barkley, seconded by Councillor Fryer and

 

RESOLVED

 

1.         that the Capital Strategy, as set out at Appendix A to the report of the Head of Finance and Property Services, attached as an Annex, be approved;

 

2.         that the Treasury Management Strategy Statement, Annual Investment Strategy and Minimum Revenue Provision Policy, as set out in Appendix B to the report of the Head of Finance and Property Services, attached as an Annex, be approved;

 

3.         that the Prudential and Treasury Indicators, also set out in Appendix B to the report of the Head of Finance and Property Services, attached as an Annex, be approved.

 

Reasons

 

1.         To enable the Council to comply with the statutory code of practice issued by CIPFA: ‘The Prudential Code for Capital Finance in Local Authorities, 2017 Edition’.

 

2.         To ensure that the Council’s governance and management procedures for Treasury Management reflect best practice and comply with the CIPFA Treasury Management in the Public Services Code of Practice, Guidance Notes and Treasury Management Policy Statement.

 

3.         To ensure that funding of capital expenditure is taken within the totality of the Council’s financial position and that borrowing and investment is only carried out with proper regard to the Prudential Code for Capital Finance in Local Authorities.

 

Having disclosed or identified interests in the following item, Councillors Bentley, Hadji-Nikolaou, Hampson, K. Harris, Miah, Paling and Smidowicz withdrew from the meeting.

77.4

Pay Policy Statement 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 68 KB

A report of the Personnel Committee, recommending that the Pay Policy Statement for 2019/20 be approved and adopted, is attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillors Bentley, Hadji-Nikolaou, Hampson, K. Harris, Miah, Paling and Smidowicz returned to the meeting.

 

A report of the Personnel Committee, recommending that the Pay Policy Statement for 2019/20 be approved and adopted, was submitted (item 6.4 on the agenda filed with these minutes).

 

It was proposed by Councillor Barkley, seconded by Councillor Draycott and

 

RESOLVED that the Pay Policy Statement for 2019/20, as set out in Annex A to the report considered by the Personnel Committee (attached as an appendix), be approved and adopted.

 

Reason

 

To ensure that the Council meets its obligations under Section 38 of the Localism Act 2011.

77.5

New Scrutiny Committee Structure pdf icon PDF 101 KB

A report of the Scrutiny Management Board, setting out recommendations for a new scrutiny committee structure, is attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A report of the Scrutiny Management Board, setting out recommendations for a new scrutiny committee structure, was submitted (item 6.5 on the agenda filed with these minutes).

 

It was proposed by Councillor Miah, seconded by Councillor Parsons and

 

RESOLVED

 

1.        that the current scrutiny committee structure set out in the Constitution be replaced with the following committees as from the commencement of the 2019/20 civic year:

 

·           Scrutiny Commission (consisting of 7 members selected on a politically balanced basis, quorum to be 4 members), 

 

·           Scrutiny Call-In Committee (consisting of 8 members being the Chairs and Vice-chairs of the other 4 scrutiny committees, quorum to be 5 members),

 

·           Corporate Services Scrutiny Committee (consisting of 7 members selected on a politically balanced basis; quorum to be 4 members),

 

·           Housing, Planning & Regeneration and Regulatory Services Scrutiny Committee (consisting of 7 members selected on a politically balanced basis, quorum to be 4 members),

 

·           Neighbourhoods & Community Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee (consisting of 7 members selected on a politically balanced basis, quorum to be 4 members);

 

2.        that the overall areas of responsibility for each of the new scrutiny committees be as summarised in Part B of the report of the Monitoring Officer (attached as Annex 1);

 

3.        that the amendments to the Council’s Constitution set out in Annex 2 be made with effect from the commencement of the 2019/20 civic year.

 

Reasons

 

1 - 3.   To implement a new scrutiny committee structure, following on from the recommendation made by the Centre for Public Scrutiny that the current scrutiny structure should be reviewed.

 

 

77.6

Nomination of Mayor Elect for 2019/20

To receive nominations for Mayor Elect for 2019/20 (subject to nomination and appointment at Annual Council, scheduled for 20th May 2019).

Minutes:

It was proposed by Councillor Miah, seconded by Councillor Morgan and

 

RESOLVED that Councillor Seaton be nominated as Mayor Elect for the 2019/20 Council year.

 

Reason

 

To ensure that a nomination was made for Mayor of the Borough for 2019/20.

77.7

Nomination of Deputy Mayor Elect for 2019/20

To receive nominations for Deputy Mayor Elect for 2019/20 (subject to nomination and appointment at Annual Council, scheduled for 20th May 2019).

Minutes:

It was proposed by Councillor Morgan, seconded by Councillor Miah and

 

RESOLVED that Councillor Snartt be nominated as Deputy Mayor Elect for the 2019/20 Council year.

 

Reason

 

To ensure that a nomination was made for Deputy Mayor of the Borough for 2019/20.

 

Councillor Snartt thanked Councillors for their support and stated that it was a great honour to be nominated.  He further stated that he looked forward to supporting the Mayor during the following Council year.

78.

Call-in References

There are no references to Council following the call-in of a Cabinet decision under Scrutiny Committee Procedure 11.7.

Minutes:

There were no call-in references from Scrutiny.

79.

Position Statements

No requests for position statements were received.

Minutes:

No position statements had been requested.

80.

Motions on Notice

No motions on notice have been received.

Minutes:

No motions on notice had been submitted.

81.

Questions on Notice pdf icon PDF 274 KB

To deal with the following questions on notice, submitted under Full Council Procedure 9.9(a):

Minutes:

The questions on notice and the responses of the Leader or his nominee were submitted (item 10 on the agenda filed with these minutes).

81.1

Staff Redundancies and Vacancies

Question submitted by Councillor Draycott.

Minutes:

Councillor Draycott stated that she found the figures provided for the number of staff affected by redundancies, the costs of those redundancies, and the amount spent on agency staff quite shocking.  The number of staff employed by the Council had decreased and the use of agency staff had increased.  That approach was causing a waste of taxpayers’ money.  She stated that the Council should seek to fill vacancies with permanent staff and asked the Cabinet Lead Member if he could provide any hope that such an approach would be adopted.

 

Councillor Poland thanked Councillor Draycott for her question and stated that any redundancies that were not voluntary were a matter for regret.  He explained the cost savings that had arisen from the management restructure that had taken place in 2010/11.  Since then there had only been small numbers of redundancies each year.  There were certain one-off services for which the use of agency workers and consultants was more appropriate than having that expertise in-house.  In the case of hard to fill posts, for example in planning where there was a national shortage, agency staff were essential.

 

81.2

Leisure Centre Parking Charges

Question submitted by Councillor Bradshaw.

Minutes:

Councillor Bradshaw thanked the Cabinet Lead member for the reply and referred to the fact that free parking was provided at the Soar Valley and South Charnwood Leisure Centres but not at the Loughborough Leisure Centre.  The car park at the Loughborough Leisure Centre could be used by people who wished only to shop in the town centre.  However there were other towns in Leicestershire with leisure centres close to the town centre where the local council provided a full refund of parking charges for leisure centre users.  The current arrangements were inconsistent, with different areas of the Borough being treated differently, and could act as a disincentive for residents living in or near Loughborough to use that leisure centre.  She therefore asked the Cabinet Lead Member to consider providing free parking for users of the Loughborough Leisure Centre.

 

Councillor Harper-Davies thanked Councillor Bradshaw for her question and supplementary question.  She stated that she would consult with the relevant Head of Service regarding the suggestion that Councillor Bradshaw had made.

81.3

Houses in Multiple Occupation Consultation

Question submitted by Councillor Parton.

Minutes:

Councillor Parton referred to other local authorities that had set the threshold above which permissions for further conversions of domestic dwellings to houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) would not be permitted at 10% of existing properties being HMOs.  He also stated that the issue was of significant concern to local residents and wished to see them consulted on the licensing of HMOs.  He concluded by thanking the Cabinet Lead Member and the Council for allowing residents to have a voice in the current planning consultation.

 

Councillor Vardy thanked Councillor Parton for his comments.  He stated that the consultation exercise was still ongoing and that there would be further public consultation on the Local Plan in the future.

81.4

Loughborough Town Centre

Question submitted by Councillor Parton.

Minutes:

Councillor Parton stated that he had been approached about the possibility of organising further events in Loughborough town centre.  The organisers, who included volunteers, had asked for help with a number of matters: consolidating the forms and guidance for holding town centre events to make them less onerous, setting up a town centre community budget so that voluntary groups did not have to pay some of the charges associated with town centre events, and making amendments to the Loughborough Market Charter so that certain events were not deemed to be rival markets.

 

Councillor Bokor thanked Councillor Parton for his suggestions and proposed that she met with him to discuss them further.

 

81.5

Preparedness for Leaving the European Union

Question submitted by Councillor Hamilton.

Minutes:

Councillor Hamilton stated that it was evident that the Government expected local authorities to play a role in the transition to the United Kingdom being outside the European Union.  There would be costs associated with replacing one set of arrangements with another and there were issues relating to resilience and business continuity.  The Government had set aside £56.5million for local authorities to cover those costs and all district councils had received £35,000 as part of that funding.  Other parts of that funding had been set aside for costs that became apparent.  Councillor Hamilton therefore asked what the Council was doing to record costs including officer time that were incurred in dealing with the transition so that any additional costs could be claimed from the Government.

 

Councillor Morgan thanked Councillor Hamilton for his question and referred to the written answer which dealt with how the £35,000 would be allocated.  He stated that areas that had ports had been allocated additional money and that included North West Leicestershire, which was the location of East Midlands Airport.  The Council was working with its partners to co-ordinate any response that was required.

 

81.6

Empty Homes

Question submitted by Councillor Rattray.

Minutes:

Councillor Rattray stated that it was positive to see so many empty homes being brought back into use and the new Empty Homes Premium would assist further with that.  She also stated that she had discovered that 8 of the 45 homes that had been brought back into use were located in Birstall, which she was pleased to see.  There were 45 empty properties in Birstall, of which 23 had been empty for 2 years or more.  She asked whether there was further work that councillors could do to assist with bringing empty properties back into use.

 

Councillor Mercer stated that the Council was working hard to bring empty homes back into use and the new Empty Homes Premium would be a powerful tool to help with that.  The actions that the Council was taking had resulted in the number of properties being brought back into use increasing from 4 per year to 50 per year.  If councillors believed that a property was empty they could let the Empty Homes Officer know.

 

82.

Minute References

There are no minute references.

Minutes:

There were no minute references.

83.

Urgent Executive Decisions Exempted from Call-in pdf icon PDF 71 KB

A report of the Chief Executive, informing the Council of an urgent decision that were exempted from call-in in accordance with Scrutiny Committee Procedure 11.9, is attached.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A report of the Chief Executive, informing the Council of an urgent decision that had been exempted from call-in in accordance with Scrutiny Committee Procedure 11.9, was submitted (item 12 on the agenda filed with these minutes).

84.

Appointments to Committees

To consider any changes to Committee membership for the current Council year (2018/19) (if any).

Minutes:

There were no proposals to consider.